There are a lot of self labeled "newbies", potential cruisers etc on this forum who had, have or will have dreams of cruising away. For the inexperienced, I say get a boat, dont spend forever making it perfect and go cruising locally/short term etc before you make a life comittment.
I know I wanted to sail off into the sunset long before I'd extensively explored local waters! I assume I'm not alone...
I've seen familes broken apart, marriages ended, "best friend pets" given away, great jobs given up, all toward realizing the dream.
Evidently the Pardey's have been collecting some interesting info for 14 years: (seen in a recent magazine)
* The sucess rate of a planned cruise of 6-18 months is 35-45%
* Of those who intend to sail around the world is 10-20%
Not trying to discourage, just keep it in perspective. I highly recommend cruising!